Podcaster: Rob Webb

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Title: Observing With Webb in June 2020

Organization: Physics teacher at Pequea Valley High School

Link: ; ;
follow me : @MrWebbPV on Twitter and Instagram

This podcast is found on: Podbean page, Stitcher, and iTunes.  There’s also a video version on YouTube Channel.

The Pequea Valley Planetarium and its events and updates are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @pvplanetarium.


Welcome June brings us all the naked-eye planets at some points in the month, Venus’s introduction to the morning with the Moon, and mornings with four naked-eye planets visible.

Bio: Rob Webb is a physics, astronomy, and sustainability teacher at Pequea Valley High School in Pennsylvania. His passions include teaching, astronomy, astrophotography, planetariums, running, reading, and golf. A proud graduate of Dickinson College in 2005, he also obtained a Master’s Degree in Science Education from Penn State University after conducting research in regards to the current state of planetariums in Pennsylvania. Feel free to contact him at

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Welcome June brings us all the naked-eye planets at some points in the month, Venus’s introduction to the morning with the Moon, and mornings with four naked-eye planets visible.

to Observing With Webb, where a high school astronomy teacher tells you what you’re looking at, why it’s so cool, and what you should check out later this month…at night. 


Full Moon – 5th (Visible all night)

Last Quarter Moon – 13th (Visible from midnight into the morning)

New Moon – 21st (darkest skies)

First Quarter Moon – 28th (Visible until midnight)

7th – 8thClose Encounter – Moon, Jupiter, Saturn– Get out after midnight these two nights at the find the Moon. On the night of the 7th, the Moon will be to the right of bright Jupiter, and to the left of Jupiter will be slightly less bright Saturn.  On the next night, the 8th, the Moon will move to be about 5˚ below Saturn and Jupiter, which are in essentially the same spot in the sky. 

12th – 13thClose Encounter – Moon, Mars – Get out there after 2am these mornings, but well before sunrise (5:34am) and find the Moon with red, ruddy Mars nearby.  The Moon will be about 10˚ or one fist-width to the right of Mars on the 12th, and 4˚ below Mars on the 13th.

19th Very Close Encounter – Moon, Venus – Venus starts its rest-of-the-year showcase as a morning star with a great apparition by rising with the Moon this morning.  Make sure you have a nice view of the ENE horizon by 4:20am when they rise less than 1˚ apart from each other. Sunrise is 5:35am, so you’ll probably only have about half an hour to get pictures.

20thSummer Solstice – This is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.  There’s a bit of explanation as to why here.

21st(Africa & Asia) Annular Eclipse of the Sun – Not visible in any way in North America, but pay attention to social media for some awesome photography from people with excellent equipment, lots of planning time, and skills with post-processing.  They’ll be photographing the Moon passing in front of the Sun, but the Moon is in the further-from-Earth part of its orbit, so it doesn’t totally obscure the Sun’s surface, so you get ring effect.  

Naked-eye PLANETS

Sunset – Mercury

  • Mercury – For only about two weeks, catch a glimpse of the innermost, fastest-moving, and often toughest to see visible planet of our solar system.  Just watch sunset, look WNW, and find the bright light below Pollux and Castor, less than 15˚ above the horizon.

Throughout the night – Saturn, Jupiter

  • Saturn, Jupiter – Both planets are rising above the ESE horizon by midnight on the 1st, 10pm on the 30th, and make their way toward the SSW by sunrise. To find Jupiter, just look for the brightest spot no more than 30˚ above the horizon.  Saturn will be about 5˚ to the left.  These make a great pair for getting your binoculars and telescopes out.  You can see the rings of Saturn and moons of Jupiter fairly easily, and not have to do too much to switch from one planet to the other.

Morning – Venus, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter

  • Saturn, Jupiter – Still hanging out up there, but more toward the South or SW by sunrise.  See above for details.
  • Mars – Trails behind, or to the left of, Saturn and Jupiter by about 50˚ or 5 fist-widths, and is about 30-40˚ above the SE horizon.  Look for the non-twinkling red dot.
  • Venus – After about a week and a half, you might be able to see Venus low on the NNE horizon after 5am and before sunrise.  As the month goes by, Venus rises earlier and moves away from the Sun.  On the 30th, Venus rises at 3:45am, and is about 20˚ above the horizon by sunrise (5:38am). Prepare for Venus to be a morning “star” for the next 6 months!


Use a sky map from to help you out.

After Dinner, Before Bed:

Big Dipper, Bootes, Virgo, Corona Borealis, Hercules – Gaze almost vertically as you face the NW, and you’ll easily find the Big Dipper: seven very bright stars that form a spoon shape. Now if you take the handle of the Dipper, follow its curve to the next bright star you see, about 30˚ away, which is Arcturus. “Follow the arc to Arcturus.” That’s the brightest star in Bootes, which looks like a kite. Take that same curve, and follow it about another 20˚ to “speed on to Spica”, the brightest star in Virgo, one of my favorite constellations, since it reminds me of the Dickinson Mermaid.  Now go back to Bootes, and just to the left of Bootes are seven stars that form the northern crown Corona Borealis, which looks more like a small bowl or a “C” in the sky. Continue a little further to the left and you’ll find the keystone asterism which is part of the constellation Hercules. Extra Challenge! Look for M13, the Hercules Cluster in between two of Hercules’ “keystone” stars.  It known as the best globular cluster in the northern skies.  It will be a fuzzy spot in binoculars and will be even cooler through a telescope

Before Work:

Summer Triangle – Lyra, Cygnus, Aquila – Look pretty much straight above you, and find the brightest star up there. You’ll notice a parallelogram attached to it. This is the brightest star Vega, part of the constellation Lyra, the harp. Directly above you will be Cygnus the Swan, with its brightest star Deneb. It will look like a large cross, or if you look out a little further, a swan flying above you. Below Cygnus and Lyra is the third constellation of the Summer Triangle, Aquila the Eagle, with its brightest star Altair. The three bright stars in this one can be easily confused for Orion’s belt, given their similar size, however they are not in line as straight, and are part of a bigger diamond shape.  Use a star chart to find small Delphinus and Sagitta in the area as well.

End of podcast:

365 Days of Astronomy

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